April 29, 2010

Chevy Graduates!

When I think of the progress Chevy and Jeff have made in just three sessions all I can think to say is "WOW"! What a learning process this has been for me.

Chevy has been an ideal student and has done everything we have asked of him.

I emailed Jeff to let him know I was on my way since we are working on door manners. He commented that Chevy must have known I was on my way because he was very excited. Today he stayed while Jeff opened the door for me but in his excitement ran down the stairs to greet me. I turned away while he situated himself back at the top of the stairs and waited for me to greet him. He shook with excitement but he waited.

Because Chevy was so excited today I put him in a Thundershirt right away and did lots of Zig-Zag and Lying Leopard touches on him to help him settle a bit.

Tonight was lots of fun because we alternated working in the house reviewing commands and learning Leave It and going for walks and even some ground work!

In teaching Chevy "Leave It" I would hold a treat in my hand, not saying anything, and when he backed away I'd give him a different treat with the other hand. It wasn't very long at all that I couldn't even get him to LOOK at the treat he was not supposed to have. We would raise the bar and put the treat on the floor and tell him to leave it. "No Problem" said Chevy, "I know you're gonna give me another one!" Yes, he is a quick learner.

Outside we worked on his dog reactivity by teaching him "Find it". With "Find it" we would walk, get his attention and toss several treats on the ground around him and tell him to "Find it"! He loved this game.

Throughout the course of our session we encountered 3 or 4 dogs. They were at a distance but he saw them and did not react. We did not let that distance get too close so we could focus on setting him up for success.

At one point we redirected him and the other dog was close enough behind us that Jeff and I could hear the dog tags. You KNOW if we heard dog tags so did Chevy! What a very good boy.

Tonight I introduced Chevy to ground work. We set up a mini Confidence Course in the front yard and again he did fantastic. I noticed something really interesting about Chevy. When he was really excited and we wanted to reign him in he was an ace in the course. He would sit or lay down when asked and move along when asked. What was interesting is once we had his focus and he was calmed he wasn't interested in doing it any more and it was clear he wanted to walk on.

Jeff now has the tools he needs to help Chevy calm down, have nice manners at the door and walk down the street far less reactive than before. With Jeff's dedication and Chevy's smarts and eagerness to please they are going to do fantastic.

April 27, 2010

The Princess and her Court

Me & Cooper

Saturday I had the pleasure of working with Cami, Carlee and Cooper again. Not only that but we also had a very special senior girl, Gertie.

Cami was quite the different dog this week. She was playful and sassy! It is clear that she is really feeling better. Must be all that lovin' from her Momma, the fantastic food, excellent vet care and a healthy dose of Tellington TTouch.

She has the most beautiful ears for doing Ear Touches!

Here she is modeling a special body wrap for the tiny types. Please say a big prayer for this special girl. Tomorrow she goes back to the doctor where they will draw fluid from her joints to see if she is in remission.

Obviously this is an uncomfortable procedure but the body wrap and the touches made her so relaxed that her Mom is going to see if the wrap alone is enough too avoid having her sedated. The less meds for this little one, the better.

Tonight I made Cami her very own little wrap and dyed it purple for her. Hopefully it will make her procedure a little more comfortable.

Here Cami enjoys her TTouches while Cooper makes sure he is next in line.

Gertie is a lady of a certain age. What age we really aren't certain and besides a lady never tells her age. Although Gertie has no vision it really doesn't seem to bother her much. She walks slowly and very gently bumps into things, adjusts her path and off she goes again.

The main problem Gertie has is a tumor on her neck. You can see it quite clearly in this photo.

Her Mom has taken her for treatment and learned the risks of surgery outweigh the benefits. Like Cami, Gertie is on a specially prepared diet for cancer patients. The tumor itself is not terribly large and it does not impact her breathing or cause her any pain. What you see in the picture is the blood and fluid that surround the tumor.

I showed Lee Anne how to do Raccoon Touches all around the area to reduce the fluid in that area and call upon the body to address the issue as only one's body can do. The touches are done very lightly.

Today I had an update from Lee Anne that the area is not nearly as tight as it was on Saturday! Fantastic news for this sweet little girl.

April 24, 2010

Front Door Manners

When I arrived to work with Jeff and Chevy today I was in for a big surprise! Previously I was greeted by a happy, bouncing, kangaroo! Today Chevy was very polite and kept all four on the floor. It is obvious that Jeff and his friend have been working diligently with Chevy.

One thing that came up in our talking today that is worth mentioning is Chevy gets TTouch first thing in the morning when they are waking up and then again as they go to bed. Jeff commented that during the day sometimes it is only a few seconds of touches but not a concentrated effort of a full session. You know what? That is just fine! Tellington TTouch is all about moments and not minutes. It was quite obvious to me that the amount of touch Chevy is receiving is just right.

We had two goals for today. The first was to review what we learned during the week and then take a walk. One of Jeff's concerns about Chevy is his dog reactivity.

The other goal was one Jeff mentioned to me during the week. I will be the first to admit that when he said he wanted to work on calm door greetings with Chevy my first thought was "Ohhhh noooooo! Not calm door greetings."

Here is the ironic thing. Both of these goals for today are things I struggle with at home with our own boyz. Marley and Pierre are dog reactive. All three are very naughty at the door so much so that it impacts us having people over. I've tried it all. But with 3 dogs all feeding off each other and one who has challenges sharing treats it is difficult to work with.

So, I did some research this week and remembered a Victoria Stillwell episode I had recorded where Victoria helped a guy with 2 very boisterous pit bulls. I rewatched that episode and realized that was going to be the right method for Chevy.

I asked what Jeff wanted to see when someone came to the door. He had a very clear picture for us to work with. He wants Chevy to sit nicely at the top of the stairs when he goes down and greets the guest. This was perfect because you need a clear picture of the end result when you start.

What we did was have Chevy sit at the top of the stairs and "wait". We gradually moved away from him added one step after another.

Finally we could go to the bottom of the stairs and open the front door with Chevy patiently waiting at the top! Sometimes he got a treat and other times he got a few touches. Jeff and I took turns being the one to say "wait" and move away from him. Then we upped the ante a bit and I went outside and Jeff let me in. Still Chevy waited patiently. Today we progressed to a light knock on the door....all with success.

This is a homework assignment for Jeff this week. Keep practicing and building on this.

The next thing we did was go for a walk! But first we switched out his Flexi Lead for a nice soft fabric, double ended lead so we could walk him in the super balance lead. This is a configuration where one end of the lead hooks on a harness ring, through a loop on the front of the harness and then up to the top of the harness. This gives us 2 points of contact and better influence over the dog.

As expected, Chevy caught on immediately. He has very nice leash manners any way so adapting to the Super Balance Leash was no problem.

Soon we saw a dog and before it was too close I showed Jeff how to redirect using the "Touch" command. It worked like a charm. Then we let the other dog get closer (on the other side of the street). I wanted to show Jeff how to work with him when he reacts. Turns out he reacts the same way Marley used to. High pitch scream and trying to get to the dog. I was able to get through to him a little which kept it from getting worse but ultimately the thing that broke his focus from the other do was a handful of treats thrown on the ground.

Jeff had a great question. Does that reward him for acting up? No, it really doesn't. When a dog is in that state of mind he isn't thinking or making a connection. Food can act as a destressor for a dog and in these beginning stages we do what it takes to interrupt the cycle in a positive way. Later we will get to the point where he can sit and get treats as the other dog goes by. Right now we want to break the pattern without force of any kind. We want to start making an association that other dog = good things!

All in all I'm incredibly pleased with Chevy's progress. He is a very smart boy with a highly committed Dad. These two are really excelling in every way.

April 18, 2010

The Princess

Camelot, Cami, or you can just call me "The Princess"

I love working with all animals. In fact I've not met a dog or cat I haven't liked along this journey of mine. Maybe it is because of the tough road we have traveled with Sammi and Marley's backs that I have an extra special spot in my heart for those with physical difficulties.

Tellington TTouch is no substitute for veterinary care but it can be quite complimentary to it. A supportive and comforting care to go along with what the Doctor orders.

Focusing on this special place in my heart my desire was to bring in more cases that have physical pain, those recovering from injury or surgery or issues that impair their mobility. The other day I started giving this some serious thought followed by an action plan. I asked myself what breed may fall into this category. Although there are many the Dachshund immediately popped into my mind and I ran a Google search of rescue groups in my area.

2nd Chance Dachshund Rescue of San Diego - www.2ndchancedoxie.com/ - caught my eye. 2nd Chance Dachshund Rescue is very special. They are local out of San Diego and only take 4 or 5 dogs at a time. The reason is they provide exceptional natural care. The dogs are fed the highest quality diet and an array of supplements. They are raised naturally without chemicals. They are given the best of care for mind and body. I sent them an email of introduction and an offer to assist any Doxies that may benefit from spending time with me. In a matter of hours I had a reply. They had such a dog. A little girl named Camelot, or Cami, or Princess as people tend to call her.

Saturday morning, bright and early, I met Cami and her "Mom", Cathleen.

Cami was born with a spine that has a 45 degree angle to it! As bad as this sounds Cami's spine doesn't slow this little girl down one bit. The big problem is that she has been diagnosed with an auto immune disease called Immune Medicated Polyarthritis that is requiring her to have some pretty nasty medicine. She has also had some painful episodes and some lameness. To read more about this disease please click on this link:

There is something else she has that I'm going to talk about for a moment. This is something that did not have to happen to her. There is a breeding practice called Color Dilution where mutated genes are matched to produce unnatural colors. Beautiful unnatural colors, in fact.

So, what the heck is wrong with making these pretty colors?

The biggest problem is that by 2-3 years old the dog will begin to get bacterial infections (folliculitis) and require antibiotics. That will work for a time. The hair will begin to fall out and this alopecia will spread. The skin in the effected areas tends to be scaly and be at risk for sunburn and extreme cold temperatures.

Breeding a purebred dog should be done for the betterment of the breed. This practice is not in the dogs best interest and needs to stop.

Back to my visit with Cami.

Cami shares her home with two other Doxies, Carlee and Cooper. Rumor has it that Cooper tends to have some nervous tics to him and is particular as to which women he trusts in his life. Carlee is as cute and affectionate as can be.

It is nice when I have multiple dogs to work with at a time because Tellington TTouch is all about moments and not minutes. The pause between the work is as important as the touches and gives the brain an opportunity to process what has just happened. So, having multiple dogs to work with provides these pauses naturally.

I have a tiny little body wrap that was perfect for Cami. She has tried a Thundershirt before but because of her hump it was not as comfortable as it is for other dogs. The wrap was perfect as we could avoid it all together.

I did short bursts of touches on Cami because this little girl is a bundle of energy and had other things to do~ A Princess' work is never done.

Cooper was a delight. Far more shy and calm than his sisters but he was not too shy to crawl up on my lap and get his fair share. While Cooper melted into my lap Carlee squeezed in for her turn.

One thing I noticed about these long nose dogs is they had no problem letting me know what they liked and where they wanted it. If I took the touches to the back end they would use those long noses to lift up my hand and flip it up toward their heads! All three did this and being a momma to "no nose" Frenchie boyz I got a smile from it.

Cami would look on and even "nose" the other Doxies when I worked on them but it was beneath her to come over to me so I'd reach out to her. It was an enjoyable juggling act.

Holding an intention of what you want to see in Tellington TTouch is very important. My intention for Cami is to help her through her treatment. When her body is in pain or swelling we can do Snail Tail or Raccoon Touches. Wraps can comfort her and generally help her feel better.

By the end of my visit all three dogs were relaxed and I hear had quite the late morning nap.

I look forward to seeing these special little ones next week.

April 15, 2010

Marley, the Graduate

Thank you Dr. Sosna!

The Animal Acupuncture & Rehabilitation Center

Well after 3 1/2 months of Physical Therapy Marley has GRADUATED!!!! Steve and I couldn't me more proud if he were graduating from an Ivy League University - actually we are MORE proud of what he has accomplished.

Tonight was Marley's final walk on the underwater treadmill. Can you believe he does 25 minutes and the resistance is 12 times that of walking without water? Marley's da man!

One trick Marley learned was to put his feet on a non moving part of the treadmill and just move his back legs or sometimes 3 legs and hold on with one. That was super cute.

Here he is holding on with his front and moving the back.

Now you talk about a smart boy!

Marley does a super challenging obstacle course and both Steve and I take turns taking him through. When it is all fun and games he does much better with Dad! But when there is another dog around then he listens to Momma best. Together we make a perfect team.

Just came up the ramp and headed for the stairs.

Marley goes over the speed bumps like a little champ!

Marley finishes up his final run with Momma with a nice hand shake!

Here you can watch Steve in action taking Marley through the course. You can see just how hard he is working but still having a really good time.

Now you wanna see fun? Take a look at this video clip. Dr. Sosna laughing cracks me up. Can you believe all this fun is actually rehab?

When you realize that Marley took his very first tentative steps on Christmas day and now he is doing all this it is amazing. Steve and I have been consumed with his recovery since December 10 of last year. Every tear, every worry and every minute (and dollar) has been so worth it to see our boy running and playing again.

Congrats for all your hard work and accomplishments little man! We love you tons and tons.

April 14, 2010


Isn't Chevy a doll? Not only is he adorable but he is my latest case study!!

You just never know when a wonderful opportunity will pop up. My meeting Chevy was unique. You see I was walking our Frenchie, Pierre when a neighbor stopped me and asked if I would be willing to work with his friend that could use some help with his Frenchie. Well I never want to pass up helping a dog with a need so here we are.

In speaking with his person, Jeff, I find out that Chevy is 8 years old, full of energy and a strong dislike for the UPS man and dogs :-)

When I first arrived I was greeted by this adorable little kangaroo! I don't know I've ever seen a Frenchie that can bounce so high. Fortunately I must not resemble the UPS man because he didn't bark at me, he only bounced.

My thoughts for Chevy are to teach him some self control and how to calm down. Then we want a strong foundation on some tools to put in our tool box that we can use when he reacts to other dogs. My tools of choice are the "Look at me" and "Touch" commands.

Chevy does not appreciate the sound of a clicker, nor the lighter for the BBQ for that matter. No problem, we will use "Yep" as our marker word and accomplish the same thing.

We introduced Chevy to the Thundershirt to help calm him and did some Lying Leopard touches and ear & mouth work. Moving between touches, ignoring inappropriate behavior and praising the good and our pseudo clicker training it wasn't long before Chevy and I were having a fun game of Touch!

I'm constantly amazed at how dogs do what works. If they can get attention, good or bad, by bouncing and acting up then so be it. But when that no longer works and they are shown another way to get good things then that is what they do.

Chevy figured out very quickly that jumping on me was met with crossed arms and my looking away from him and that four on the floor resulted in calm and loving touches and treats!

Now it was Jeff's turn to play touch!

What team they are! We are well on our way to having valuable tools to rely on when the need arises.

As things were winding down we had an opportunity to put "Touch" to the test. Chevy became concerned about something on the other side of the fence and started to react somewhat. Rather than tell him no or try to correct him I asked him to touch in a fun and playful way. Chevy immediately left the fence and ran full steam ahead to touch my hand.

I see great things happening with Chevy already.

Jeff has his list of homework to do before we get together again. He will keep working on the Tellington TTouches he learned today and concentrate on teaching the "Look at me" and "Touch" commands in lots of different places. Keep it fun!

April 13, 2010

Shelter night!

When one door closes another is thrown wide open. Today was one of those days.

My standing Tuesday appointment with Iggy was canceled so I took the opportunity to volunteer at the shelter. One of my very favorite things to do is to work with these special dogs looking for homes.

I was asked to work with Clyde because, and I quote "he has more issues than Time magazine". I didn't know what these issues were and I didn't know the breed. I only knew he had issues and where to find him.

Meet Clyde!

It isn't often I am asked to work with a tiny one like this and I always find it to be fun. As you can see I was very excited to try out my XS Thundershirt! I did try the XXS but it was a tad too small. That got me wondering what the heck fits in the XXS, a hamster?

I found Clyde to be a loving dog that wanted to sit on my lap and was very receptive to the touches. I tried some clicker training with him but he really wasn't all that interested. Clyde would rather be loved on and get lots of touches.

The little ones are so different. I may only use one or two fingers very lightly to do the work. As far as finding more issues than Time magazine, somehow I missed them. I only found a little dog that loves to be loved.

Malcom is a dog I've been watching in the "found" section for some time. I was drawn to him because of this picture:

I have no idea what happened to this sweet boy's eye and I've never seen anything quite like it. He has been in "found" for such a long time. Today I finally met him. He is available now and this is the picture the shelter is using for his page on the website!!!! Nooo, not good!

Not knowing if his eye was still this way I wasn't sure what to expect but either way Malcom needed a new photo.

I was so happy to see that this damaged eye is a part of his history. Malcom and I went outside and had a wonderful TTouch session with lots of play and kisses.

As you can see Malcom has come a very long way. It is now evident why he had not moved to the Available page before now. He was having a makeover!

Malcom is the sweetest dog and we had so much fun playing. If I didn't have 3 boys at home already this little man would NOT be looking for a home.

Is he "stinkin' cute" or what??? Something tells me he will not be homeless for very long!

Jackson was next. His intake picture spoke to me as well. What a sad looking boy!

I had to see for myself if Jackson was indeed as sad as his picture said he was. If so, we were going to have to change that.

Turns out Jackson is a very happy boy. He is one good looking Chocolate Lab x Pit boy that thinks he is a lap dog!

Photographing Jackson was a bit of a challenge because he either wanted to kiss the camera or he wanted to plop down on my lap and kiss me!

Think this may compel more folks to come and appreciate this big 'ol love bug than the other picture? I hope so!

It is dogs like Clyde, Malcom and Jackson that continue to draw me into the shelter. I go there with the idea of helping them but it is me that walks away with a full heart.